Celtic have slumped to a disappointing dip in form recently and as such, Neil Lennon’s future at the club hangs in the balance. The Hoops are currently second in the Premiership with a hefty 13-point gap between them and leaders Rangers. They’ve also all but sealed their exit from the Europa League, after struggling to bank more than one point in the opening stages.
Nevertheless, Celtic must still face Lille tomorrow evening in another European clash. But being rooted to the bottom of their group, there’s no point in Lennon deploying his usual starting lineup.
The Irishman is being watched like a hawk as he attempts to right his recent wrongs as manager. It would be a huge mistake to start his usual senior team against the French outfit tomorrow, as it will only cause unnecessary risk ahead of their weekend match against Kilmarnock.
In order to rest players to give themselves a good chance of winning on Sunday, Lennon needs to give his fringe men a run out.
In place of star forward Mohamed Elyounoussi, the Hoops must deploy rising talent Mikey Johnston, who is yet to make a first team appearance this season. The 21-year-old featured a total of 21 times for Celtic last campaign, which looked like it was indicating a big future for the Scotland youth international.
However, the arrival of fellow left-winger Elyounoussi on loan appears to have elbowed Johnston out of the squad completely. But with their European chances already dashed, there would be no logic behind playing the Southampton ace tomorrow night.
Johnston will relish in the chance to represent his club, whether it’s an essentially pointless match or not.
During his time with the senior squad last season, Chris Sutton lauded the youngster as a “real talent”. He will definitely want to keep impressing the likes of the ex-Celtic player and will see this chance against Lille as a way back into the team.